Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Time to recognize the righteous among the Jews

Yad waSheim should change its longstanding, erroneous focus on Gentiles

Gentiles who risked their lives trying to save Jews in WW II are called Righteous among the Nations. Jews trying to save Jews aren’t counted.

What I noticed over the years is that in the Netherlands, four groups were statistically overrepresented in the Resistance against the Nazis:
1. Jews. They knew what was happening in Germany.
2. Communists. They knew what was happening in Germany.
3. Homosexuals. They knew what was happening in Germany.
4. Dutch Protestants. They understood this administration is evil.

It seems that the following uncouth assumptions underlie Yad waSheim‘s regrettable policy against equally recognizing Jewish WW II heroism:

1. “The Jews had nothing to lose.” That is untrue and insulting. Gentile Communists and homosexuals too had nothing to lose, but they are recognized. And the resistance by Jews too was often heroic and selfless. My parents were typical examples of that. They risked their very lives for others, over and over again. Since when is that not meritorious?

2. “Of course, Jews were looking out for themselves. That’s not laudable.” That smacks after antisemitism. Many young Jews were idealists fighting evil, not all as Jews. My mother’s only sibling was more a Communist than a Jew when he joined the Resistance. Fredy Hirsch fought for the children because he was selfish or had nothing to lose? They were just selfish Jews?

3. “After 2,000 years, we can’t expect Gentiles to stand up for Jews. These surprising exceptions must be honored.” This cynicism about non-Jews is understandable but wrong. Whole nations, villages, churches, and families stood up against Nazi evil. Yes, they all were exceptions, but many of those who tried to save Jews never bragged about it because they didn’t see what they did as extraordinary. They just saw no alternative to not colluding with evil. Being astonished about that almost gives all hating or indifferent Gentiles a free pass as in: what can you expect of Gentiles?

4. “Of course, Jews resisted.” That was not self-evident at all. Jews don’t have a militaristic culture. They didn’t have a military or police force for millennia. Only some who went to Palestine learned to use weapons to protect against Muslim terrorism. To not honor Jews who resisted fortifies the baseless myth that Jews were led as lambs to the slaughter. While Gentiles who resisted were exceptions, resisting Jews were much more common. Yet, that doesn’t make their heroism less brave or less selfless.

Yad waSheim issued many books presenting the Righteous among the Nations per country. Such books presenting the Righteous among the Jews might cover many more pages. Is that a reason not to publish them?

5. “Jews were helpless victims.” Victimized Jews may bring more sympathy than assertive ones. But a small corner at the Yad waSheim website doesn’t do justice to the widespread and important Jewish resistance.

B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem and the Committee to Recognize the Heroism of Jewish Rescuers During the Holocaust do award Jewish Rescuers Citations. An example to follow. Better late than never.

I call upon Yad waSheim to finally correct this historic mistake and start recognizing the countless Jews who resisted the Nazis and helped Jews.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. None of his content is generated by the new bore on the block, AI. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. Or not at all because he doesn't claim G^d talks to him. He gives him good ideas—that's all. MM doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 2000 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe too, here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. * His newest books you may find here:
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